Valerian is an officinal plant widespread in Europe and Asia. Also called catnip, it responds to the scientific name of Valeriana officinalis and belongs to the Caprifoliaceae family. Declared to be a universal remedy, it appropriates the name of “cure-everything”. In addition, this plant contains a large amount of active ingredients. It includes in particular alkaloids, valepotriates, valerin, valerenic acid, glutamine as well as a more or less high percentage of essential oil.
The qualities of valerian in natural medicine
If valerian tends to drive cats towards a state close to alcoholic or cannabis overexcitement, it has the opposite effect on humans. In herbal medicine, this medicinal plant is indicated to treat nervous tension and its repercussions on the body. It has, in fact, been proven that valerian has sedative and calming properties. She allows to fight stress and anxiety. In addition, this calming property also acts on the muscles. It reduces muscle pain, cramps and aches.
In addition, this plant is effective in fighting against insomnia, especially those caused by anxiety. It tends to improve the quality of sleep and facilitates falling asleep. It also contributes to regulate blood pressure and thus stabilizes the heart rate.
Valerian is also recommended to soothe the discomfort that accompanies the onset of menstruation. It considerably improves the daily life of women during this dreaded period. Its action ranges from reducing uterine cramps and spasms to mood management.
Galenic forms available
In phytotherapy, the most used parts of the plant are the root and the rhizome. On the market, they can be found in the form of herbal tea or infusion, decoction, powder, tincture, dry extracts and capsules.
Modes of use
Valerian is mainly used internally and orally. However, for optimal effect, it can be applied directly to the skin as a poultice. This route of administration is particularly indicated for relieve muscle and joint pain. Moreover, by adding dried roots to the water in the bathtub, it is possible to enjoy its relaxing effect while taking a bath.
For internal use, a valerian herbal tea is prepared by infusing 1 to 2 g of dried roots in 150 ml of boiling water. Let stand for 10 minutes, then drink the herbal tea half an hour before bedtime to aid sleep.
For tinctures, it is advisable to take 1 to 3 ml in order to calm nervous agitations and anxiety attacks. The intake is limited to 5 times a day.
For capsules, the recommended dose is 2 to 4 capsules, 3 times a day.
Valerian is not recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding women and for children under 12 years old. It is also contraindicated in people with liver problems.